With over 40 million monthly users, Uber’s journey has been spectacular. So much so, that other startups now aim to be the next ‘Uber’ of the industry they cater to.
What would the cost to build such a product be? Can you build your Uber in USD 50,000? Yes, and no. Sounds confusing? Let’s look at it in detail.
When it comes to any app, there’s always a first version that’s made. This Minimum Viable Product is stripped off all NFR’s (non-functional requirements) such as performance, maintainability, security, usability, scalability, reliability, etc. This leaves a product that is the most minimal version of itself and has the most valuable part of what it is ultimately supposed to be. This MVP is used for testing with early users. This is typically a close group of customers.
At the MVP level, there is one critical thing to remember: it is ok to be frugal and conservative when it comes to spending money. Being an absolute miser helps in this stage immensely. In fact, at the MVP stage, you should be spending as little as possible, so much so that saving every penny is one of the hallmarks of creating an MVP.
Assuming everything functions smoothly, you move on to the next stages of product development. Here is the next piece of critical information: don’t be frugal at this stage. While you should never over-spend, do remember that at this point you want customers to interact with your product. The product should now have all of the features we previously discarded, i.e. performance, maintainability, usability, security, scalability, and reliability. Typically, this part of developing the software tends to be expensive. Tightening the strings of your purse is not the wise thing to do now.
Take a look at this diagram below:
This diagram perfectly illustrates the point I’m making here. If you cut down on cost, either the quality will be poor, or the time taken to build the product will take much longer. A poor quality product is not worth pushing out, and if the product is late in entering the market, your competitors will have entered the market and capitalized on the opportunity you were waiting for.
The MVP stage of product development is typically fast, inexpensive, and functional. The stages after that need a smooth flow of finances if one is to achieve quality in a timely manner.
An app that is being pushed into the market needs to stand the most rigorous testing of all: that of the customers. It needs to function on all operating systems, regardless of their version and how old it is. This kind of testing, quality standard, and functionality is only possible if time and attention are paid to the creation of the product. Customers need to feel that it fills a gap in their life, or fulfills a need.
Travis Kalanick’s Uber was a basic app that relied only on Google Maps to function. Today as Uber stands, it is used by millions, with money flowing in and out of the app.
The road to having a product that functions beautifully is not an easy one, and it certainly isn’t cheap; one simply needs to be wise about where they spend, and on what. Finding someone to do that for you is essential since not everyone has the ability to test a product against every single version of Android dating back to 2.1, against every version of iOS, and then doing the same for Windows too.
Further, it is at this stage that the expertise you hire will help you hedge your bets for the future. The product that you create should not only function right now, but should also be supported for the foreseeable future. It is critical to manage your software architecture in a manner that enables you to function for the times to come, with minimal changes.
The real cost of software development moves in a cycle; it is advisable to pinch your pennies in the beginning, and to then let the finances flow a little more smoothly as long as it goes towards building a great product.
If I were asked if it was cheap or expensive to build a software, I would say it was both!
We at Innovify would love to help you on your journey, no matter which part of the road you are on. We would be happy to help whether you’re just getting around to building the MVP or would like some serious work done on pushing a great product out into the world. Drop us a mail, and we’ll be at your service.